Perception of having a low milk supply is one of the number one reasons moms will stop breastfeeding. Have you worried about one, or more, of the following things? If so, read on and, if you are still worried, might I suggest calling a lactation consultant before giving up on breastfeeding altogether?
- “I don’t feel as full as I used to.”
After giving birth, you may have wondered, “Where’s my milk? I don’t feel like there’s any in there”, as you jabbed at, and fondled, your soft breasts. Reassurances of having “just the right amount of colostrum” came from well-meaning friends and probing nurses. You know the nurses I’m talking about … the ones who squeezed your breasts to show you that precious drop of colostrum on your nipple? Yeah, you won’t soon forget that! But, alas, they must have been right because your precious new babe did survive until that blessed, uncomfortable day when , wholly schmolly, you’ve got milk now!! But, here’s the deal …..that’s not forever. Thank goodness, right? For the first 3-4 days, while junior was learning how to breastfeed, he was stimulating the breasts to make more milk! After three days of wondering if you had enough milk, you were then left NOT wondering that at all. During the next three weeks, or so, the breasts adjusted the amount of milk being made by how much was removed. That’s why moms are HIGHLY encouraged not to pump or bottle-feed for the first three weeks. It’s an important time for milk establishment, which will serve you well in the future. However, once the breasts are making what the baby is removing, plus a little more for growth, most moms become concerned that they don’t have enough milk. Oh, the phone calls I receive around that time frame! If your baby’s poop and pee count hasn’t changed, and your baby was back at birth weight by the two-week checkup, chances are that all is well with your milk supply.
- “My breasts don’t leak.”
Know what I have to say to that? Congratulations!!! Good for you! How lucky can you be? So many moms want to compare themselves to their friends and family. Or, better yet, well-meaning friends and family want to give unwarranted advice like, “You must not have enough milk if you aren’t leaking! I went through at least 20 breast pads a day!” Let me ask you a few questions. Did you and your friend start your periods at the same age? Do you have the same color hair? Is your skin the exact same color? Do you both wear the same size bra? I could continue being obnoxious, but I think you get the point. Every mom, every pair of breasts, every baby …… all different. We are all beautifully and wonderfully made, but different. So, congratulations. You’ve just saved money on breast pads … more money for diapers!
- “My baby wants to feed all of the time and doesn’t act satisfied.”
Okay, this one is a bit trickier. Babies go through growth spurts. It’s a fact. The time periods for these food-fests are around three weeks, six weeks, three months, six months and nine months. Some babies graze right through and mom never notices. Most moms, however, will. Instead of your baby feeding every three-ish hours, she starts searching for the buffet at 1-2 hours. Then, to add insult to injury, and panic upon worry, she acts like she ate nothing! Once again, poops and pees can tell us a good bit. Still the same output as before? Check! Does your sweet baby’s age fall within the aforementioned time frames? Check! What do you do? Feed on demand, as you have hopefully been doing thus far. The increased demand will increase your milk supply somewhere in the neighborhood of 2-5 days. I won’t lie to you, it can seem like an eternity. But this process is a sure thing. It will happen and it will end …. Until the next growth spurt.